A major new comparison of global health systems places the UK second to bottom across a series of major health care outcomes, including life expectancy and survival rates from cancer, strokes and heart attacks.

The first ever ‘International Health Care Outcomes Index’ published today by the Civitas think tank calls into question Sajid Javid’s plans to rebuild our ailing health system.

This independent evaluation ranks the UK health system against 18 other comparable countries by looking at health spending and 16 major health care outcomes. The report has been compiled by former Centre for Policy Studies director Tim Knox based on data available from the OECD.

All the other countries studied – apart from America – provide universal access to healthcare and deliver better outcomes for patients, according to the figures.

With public confidence in the NHS plummeting, Knox is calling for a more “honest” debate about the future of our health system.

Across 16 major health care outcomes the UK comes bottom of the league four times – more than any other country – and is in the bottom three for 8 out of 16 measures. No other comparable country has such a poor record.

The charts and tables are based on a straightforward ranking of health care outcomes enabling a direct comparison of the UK’s health system with its international rivals. The report finds the UK constantly “bumping along the bottom” and firmly “in the relegation zone”, says the report.

According to the ‘International Health Care Outcomes Index’ the UK is 10th out of 19 comparable countries for spending on its health system as a percentage of GDP. Putting the UK mid-table.

In 2019 the UK ranked 17th out of 19 comparable countries for life expectancy.

For strokes and heart attacks the UK has the worst survival rates of comparable countries

Across 5 different types of cancer measured by the OECD the NHS comes 16th out of 18 comparable countries.

For treatable diseases the UK is second to bottom – 15th out of 16. If we matched the average of other countries, we would save over 6,500 lives every year or 17 a day.

The only thing the UK tops the charts on is helping diabetics avoid limb amputation.

Tim Knox said: “This index compares our health care outcomes with those in similar countries. It’s impartial and based on an established methodology and comparable data that is available to anyone, anywhere.

“If what matters most to patients is the outcome of the treatment that they will receive, then these findings should be of concern to all, not least as the least well-off are those who have no alternative to the NHS.

“Our uncritical worship of the NHS means that it is difficult to ask questions of our health service and how it ranks against those of other nations. This index is meant to challenge our preconceptions.”